DIA to issue bonds for parking lot, moving walkways

Denver International Airport intends to issue as much as $325 million in bonds to fund various improvement projects, including parking lot upgrades and the addition of moving walkways on Concourse C.

It will mark the first time since 2004 that DIA has issued bonds for such projects.

The airport estimates it needs $223 million for the improvements, a figure that includes related capitalized interest and financing costs. DIA also wants city approval to issue up to $102 million more in bonds - just in case, said Stan Koniz, DIA's chief financial officer.

"We want flexibility if something were to come up and we were to proceed with some other projects," Koniz said.

Some of the money from bond sales will go toward completed projects the airport funded using equity or credit, such as the construction of a regional jet facility for United Airlines. The other portion will be filtered to current or planned improvements, including $47 million for a parking garage that's under construction.

DIA also will use $7.5 million to add moving walkways to the C concourse, $3 million for improvements to the Mount Elbert parking lot and several million dollars to resurface the west economy lot.

The airport needs final approval from Denver City Council but doesn't expect any holdups.

"After 12 years of operation, it's time to refurbish a lot of the facilities," said Council President Michael Hancock. "Unfortunately, it's a high-volume place, so it will require quite a lot of" money for upkeep.

The airport expects to issue more bonds in the near future to help fund several major expansion projects, including the addition of 10 gates on the C concourse. DIA is considering building regional jet facilities on the A and C concourses, as well.